Managing Money

Money in Your 40’s: Becoming Intentional

March 9, 2012

Each decade of our adult life has brought specific financial challenges.

In our 20’s we were just getting started. We finished our educations, bought our first house, and had our babies.

In our 30’s we were focused on growth, both our kids’ growth and my husband’s business growth as well.

And now we find ourselves in our 40’s. Late 40’s even. And despite all that we’ve accomplished before, this feels like the decade of especially big financial challenges.

  • We still have a mortgage and some non-mortgage debt as well.
  • And we’re aware of how close retirement is.

Like I said, big stuff.

But being in your 40’s can be an exciting time too.

Our kids are raised, or almost raised, and that’s satisfying. And, with so much of our lives still ahead of us, we get to think and dream about what we want this second act to look like.

We talk about that a lot.

The key to it all for us can be summed up in one word:


We’re working to be more intentional with our money than ever before. Here’s what that looks like:

We’re getting rid of debt, particularly unsecured, consumer debt. And two years ago we put our mortgage on a 15-year payout.

After the non-mortgage debt is gone, we’ll shift that money to more aggressive saving for retirement.

But in addition to saving for the future, we want to enjoy the life we have now, so that requires very intentional spending.

Here’s what I mean by intentional spending:

cutting back on what’s less important to us so we can afford what’s more important to us.

What decade of life do you find yourself in? Is it coming with unique financial challenges? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts about Money in your 20’s/30’s/40’s/50’s/Retirement see the Money in Your 20’s/30’s/40’s/50’s/Retirement Roundup.

  1. Julie!
    What a beautiful family you have!! I switched to a 15 year mortgage 2 years ago and wish I did it sooner! We’d be so much better off…and college and retirement savings wouldn’t interfere with retirement savings… I LOVED this post…I’m really trying to balance saving for retirement and living TODAY. It’s not always easy…

    1. Sharon, we switched to a 15 year at exactly the same time you did. Our families are trying to do a lot at one time, aren’t we? We recently toyed with the idea of refinancing to a 10 year since the rates are even lower now, but it felt like too much. Like you said, we’ve got to save for retirement and do some living today!

  2. We’re in our 30s and I agree that each decade has its own unique circumstances. For me, the financial challenges of this decade will be buying a house (at some point in the future) and figuring out career stuff once my kids are in elementary school. Intentional spending is absolutely critical to controlling your money, instead of the other way around, I think.

  3. What a great looking family!

    I’ve just stepping foot in 40’s territory and to be honest it has made me stop and think a LOT about many aspects of my life. I’m not about to buy a red sports car with a white vinyl roof but I am more focused on getting-on with things.

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